In this episode, Jason and I discuss the value of having a technical advocate on the call. He shares his background and his take on being a sales engineer. Listen to this episode to learn what his favorite technology is and how he is expanding his knowledge base.
To learn more about Jason and to connect- https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonkaufman7/
to learn more about Telarus- https://www.telarus.com/
This podcast is dedicated to those that are in the mix making it happen and want to do better at everything. Each episode, our guest will help us be better, do better and perform better. We will tackle topics that we all deal with in business and in life.
Wow, I'm glad you made it back to a another episode of the wireless way. And I'm always surprised and eager to find out what song selection my guest chooses for their intro music. And today, man, what a what a great piece of music by Kid Rock really kind of sets the tone if you will begin to enjoy this conversation with Jason Kaufman, two layers, one of our great sales engineers kind of go into who he is how he got here, and why the sales engineer teams make such a difference. And you know, it's always about the team, right. So thanks for checking out another episode of the wireless way. And it begins right now.
Welcome back to another episode of the wireless way. I'm Chris Whitaker, your host and today I'm joined by the one and only Jason Kaufman. Jason was born and raised in Venice, Florida, one of the few natives I believe. When he began his professional career in retail computer repair. So always been technical. Jason completed his bachelor's degree in Information Technology and transition his career into tier one support representative with star to star one of our suppliers. Within his role, JC began working with businesses to manage and troubleshoot their UCaaS environments. Since then, Jason has worked through the ranks of implementation project management, strategic sales engineering, even managed a technical account management team, then building and leading operations teams in a desktop as a service organization. So clearly a lot of technical engineering type stuff. Jason currently holds position of sales engineer for the southeast region at Telarus, a technology solution brokerage, where he is responsible for coaching and assisting partners in designing solutions to solve their customers needs while driving revenue to grow their business. That almost sounds like a marketing blurb, but it's true. I know firsthand. So Jason has experience in architecting many types of solutions, including UCaaS, Contact Center, SD win, enterprise networking and cloud infrastructure. Coincidentally, he recently took on the Internet of Things in mobility. And you can even set the clock on a VCR which is impressive for a man of his this 10 year, Jason skills focuses around accurately understanding the customer's requirements and explaining the advanced solutions to anyone regardless of their technical comprehension. He enjoys the success of a happy customer excited by the decisions they made to benefit their business and who doesn't enjoy that. So, Jason, thanks for making time to join us today. How are you doing?
Doing great. Thanks for Thanks for having me. I I've been listening to your podcast and I feel like a little mini slavery notre that you asked me to be on it.
Oh, man. Well, I think like they say I'm gonna make you famous or at least, you know, at least I think I am. I don't know. I don't know if I even want to be famous. Now. Think about it. Well, I have to read your bio, me, you're a pretty accomplished guy. You've been around you. You've, you know, you're in a great team now here to layer us. But as I always like to do, you know, I really don't want to get into the conversation before we start learn a little more about you about your journey. And how did you get to where you are today?
Yeah, yeah. So. So we started off with college and I went to college at the University of Florida, down in Gainesville, or up in Gainesville, from where I'm living now. And, you know, I had a lot of fun. So I graduated with a degree that, you know, doesn't really get you very far. But, but it shows that the Gita had a lot of fun in college. So when I got done with that, I started in, you know, direct sales for Comcast. And then I went to landscaping and then Geek Squad. So to sum it up real quick, the three things I learned off the bat were rejection,abuse, and I don't ever want to do landscape again, I respect I respect the heck out of people that do landscaping, but that's my motivation for never wanting to go back. So after that, I got my, my kick into the telecommunications industry, to where I start off in tech support. And it came the time after a few months where they're like, Hey, do you want to go up to tier two?to tech support and do a little more of the command line interface, or do you want to go to our implementation team, so I chose the latter and with the implementation route that started giving me some experience in the design phase as well for we had an on premise PBX and a lot of network design, call flows, contact center those types of things and then expanded into the SD win market. And what I found out real quick is a lot of the partners did not run through the sales engineering team. And by the time it got to the implementation team, it was a kind of fix it before it even happens. And there's really no time to engage anybody else for it. So instead of the an ask for permission, I started asking for forgiveness and started learning how to design systems. And then that led me over to the sales engineering team. And then once they found out I got another degree from USF, and it focusing on net Network Security Administration, that's when I officially got moved over. And a few months after that, I got pulled into the strategic sales engineering to where I was overseeing the more strategic partners, larger, more complex deals.And then after that, it was management to where I was running a technical account management team grid from a single individual to four people spanning across the country had, you know, measured growth from a revenue perspective, you know, hitting a lot of demos, designs, trainings, those types of things, offloading a lot of stuff from the sales engineering team. And then I got pulled over to, we actually brought another product for desktop as a service, where we did you know, cloud, citrus cloud and VDI over you know, Windows Windows Server and then moving to Windows 10. So I got some experience on there where I built a technical support team, and then took on the implementation team and ran the operations once the SVP of operations decided to move on to a different company. So that led me to my journey at Polaris, and where I start speaking about my and I'm using quotes right now, expertise and UCaaS, see cast SD Wan, and cloud and VDI now a lot. So did I hear you right? You mentioned earlier that you spent some time as a Comcast direct rep was our residential or business side. That was residential, I was trying to get over the business side but that was that lined up perfectly around the time when Verizon was coming in with their fiber line. So that's where a lot of rejection is. People were kind of upset with
Well, I mean, as is par for course, always learned something new about someone that didn't know I mean, that is how I got my started Telecom was door to door residential cells. After getting out of the army. And again, I got the army not knowing how I was gonna make a living. But my brother in law was gracious enough to set me up for an interview with a with a guy that had a door to door sales position open.
Selling Roadrunner, high speed Internet back in 1998. So yes, I've been around that long. And, and so so yeah, you're right, you learn a lot about yourself, and you'll learn a lot about reading people. And I find it interesting. Because at that time, you already had your IT degree or No, not at that time. Now I got my IT degree while I look at my previous company started start.
Okay, okay. I gotta say, it's kind of unusual. You'll see a lot of super technical people want to go into direct sales. But it's really cool that you have that background is that does that help you as a sales engineer in working with salespeople?
Yeah, it helps me read the room better. So I can tell when somebody is not engaged, when somebody is starting to get mad, somebody feels like they're not being included in the conversation, you know, you can tell that from facial expressions, the words they use their tone, and I feel like being the direct sales rep helped out tremendously with that, because you're starting off in a negative disadvantage. I mean, you're walking into somebody's house, you know, knocking on their door in the home, interrupting them, whether it's, you know, lunchtime dinner, they're watching TV, you know, doing something that they really like, and you're there to try to sell them something. So you're trying to overcome so many obstacles. It leads you real quick on Hey, Chuck, spend much time here or should I move on to the next house?
Absolutely. Tim Miller was my sales engineer for a couple of years at one of my previous roles years ago. And he would always tell me, Chris, don't confuse technology with the actual offering. Now, just because it is technically possible, doesn't mean that's what the product or the service you're trying to sell does. And that was a big reminder to make because, you know, oftentimes you have salespeople, they know just enough to be dangerous, and they're trying to sell something to sell an outcome that's not quite in alignment with, with how it's delivered. So that was, that was a very good tidbit.
You know, as we wrap it up here, I know, we can go on and on. And I would encourage anyone listening, whether you're telarus partner, or you are interested in being a Telarus partner, you can always reach out to us and reach out to me on LinkedIn. And I'll be sure to have Jason's LinkedIn profile in the show notes. But Jason, I kind of want to give you the last words, any any last ideas or thoughts are always on me when impart upon us, please.
So anytime, you know, always reach out, you know, I'm more than happy to help in any situation, whether it's, you know, the ones I love getting is the ones like, Hey, I don't think you guys can do this. But do you have a supplier that can facilitate this solution? I love going for homework and trying to figure something out. I've already solved a few of those, you know, I've been with with players that long. I'm working on my fourth month now.
But I'd love I love the ones that aren't cookie cutter, you know, give me a challenge. You know, let's see how many solutions we can bring to the table. And I love when the partner tells me Hey, you know, I don't really know all the different opportunities in here, I started the conversation about this specific topic. But let's see what else is out there. And just opening up that dialogue that we were talking about earlier, get the get customer talking on things on their pain points, you know, what are they looking to do? What projects do they have coming on? Where do they feel nervous about I physically had a customer tell me with the partner on the line, I'm so happy, I'm not alone looking to do this. And that's one of those things like you don't expect to hear from a sales or sales engineering perspective mean you're expected to come in and try to sell something. So somebody needs to keep their guard up. But as soon as somebody tells you that they're happy that you're there, and they feel like they're not alone, you're no longer a salesperson, you're an advocate for that customer. And that's really where you want to be, you want to be that trusted advisor. So that's the way that we help from the sales engineering side, we come in from an agnostic approach, we get this get the requirements that the customer wants, we're not even thinking about suppliers at that time. And then we do our homework to make sure that we have multiple suppliers that fit the bill, and then we bring it to the table. So it's not something that where we're trying to get an easy sell, we want to make the right sale.
There you go another episode of the wireless way. If you want to learn more about how to become a partner with Polaris, I would love nothing more than make some proper introductions to one of our 18 strategic partner development managers we have across the country, ever growing team here to layers from sales engineers, solution architects, a best in class commissioned team because let's not forget, that's why we're here. You know, it's to solve problems. But making a living at the same time isn't there's nothing wrong with that. So I appreciate you joining today and listening in our conversation with Jason Kaufman. And if you liked what you heard, tell your friends and your colleagues and ministry about the wireless way like share and follow. And I appreciate it. Thanks for stopping in another episode of the wireless way is in the books.